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Internet providers: police need help to tackle online child abuse

Police need more resources to tackle online child abuse alongside internet providers’ efforts to help parents and block dangerous sites.

The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) said that it would support the Parliamentary Culture, Media & Sport’s Committee’s conclusion that a joint approach between industry, government, law enforcement and civil society is required to tackle online safety.

The trade body added that the industry has stepped up its efforts through improved education and awareness, free tools to support parents and carers and greater funding for the IWF in recent times.

“We now feel Government should ensure law enforcement has the necessary resources to bring perpetrators to account,” ISPA said.

The association welcomed investment by the UK’s major ISPs to offer free parental controls and whole-home filtering solutions to their customers, and supported the committee’s conclusion that filtering and technology cannot fix this issue alone, with education and parental mediation an essential  part of this.

But it warned that there were challenges in cost and scale faced by smaller ISPs in implementing a network-level solution and the fact that their customer base are primarily business-focused or more tech-savvy.

ISPA secretary general, Nicholas Lansman, said: “We’re pleased the CMS Committee agrees that government needs to properly resource CEOP and that tackling inappropriate access to adult content needs a more comprehensive approach than just filtering.

“This report is a useful addition to the online safety debate in the UK and I look forward to seeing government’s response.”

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre is part of the National Crime Agency, which works with child protection groups in the UK and abroad to identify threats to children and coordinate police action against offenders.

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